Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Holiday sickness :(

I would love to write a lovely post about the new year but unfortunately right now everyone apart from z & the cat are ill. And we have no proper Internet. Soooo I promise to post in the new year with all sorts of plans I have. And the good side of being ill is it has made me decide that I think I'd rather work on blogging more than set up a 'formal' business. I can blog wherever I am, dressed how I like & coughing/sneezing how I like but if I set up the ideas I have had I couldn't. 

To be honest I don't know how other mums manage to work from home with their kids in school. We've nowhere near finished what we want to achieve on our house, I've lots of ideas for the future & have 2 daughters to look after! ;)

So for now, here's to 2015! May you have a happy, healthy and prosperous new year! And may I achieve my blogging dreams to the max ;) 

Friday, 5 December 2014

Love is...

My husband, despite calling me names, going to our car in the cold to get my bag at about 11pm so I don't have to in my pjs the next morning! :)


* Why's there a basket upside down on it I hear you ask?
I have to wear a uniform & protective gear to Krav Maga. So I get changed at home before & after. I don't want to keep the protective gear in my clothes drawer so I have the basket for them on top. 
Last night I decided to change at the hall & then left the bag with my jeans in it, in my car...

Projects...

The biggest trouble with moving house & just before Christmas is the massive abundance of 'projects' that have 'appeared':

I'm gonna have to do a loving shout out to my awesome husband:


He had the idea of painting this 'old' ikea table, with chalkboard paint. We already had both I should add. Then when I'd sat down exhausted tonight to a glass of wine he even offered to paint it for me! 

Other projects?
Sooo many. And I've set 2 weeks time a date to have a Christmas party... I'm mad, aren't I?! No internet on my laptop for a few weeks. 

However we have decided on a few things. Not ideal but we're having our bathrooms redone in January and we'll get all the painting finished after that. So that means leaving other bits, like shelves until then. But we decided we need to live for a bit first. Hubby's words were 'let it grow organically'. :) 

Most rooms are 'nearly' done. Which frustrates me that it's only nearly but I think I need to remind myself it doesn't have to be perfect... 

Friday, 28 November 2014

Happiness is...

Having a laundry room.

Ok, that's clearly a major exaggeration otherwise I'd be incredibly 'sad'. But having had to get dressed for the past 2 years & leave my apartment to do washing, it's blissful to not only have our washing machine in the same living 'area' but now I suddenly have a laundry room as well! :D 


We have just had a minor issue with the plumbing but it's nothing that can't be solved...

I will post more as & when I can but we don't have the Internet on our pc's at the moment so I'm doing this solely from my mobile which is more challenging. It's also why I'm sure the photos aren't displaying properly...

I've been out every night this week so I'm pretty tired but things are slowly coming together :)

Cleaning a kitchen.

Very quickly before I forget: a recommendation.

Husband was moaning about how the oven was disgusting. There's grease on the wall of our 'new' kitchen. So instead of resorting to Lakeland Limited as we'd initially intended, I looked on a blog I stumbled across, clean mama. Here's the recommendation: http://www.cleanmama.net/2013/11/simplify-the-season-clean-your-oven.html



Unfortunately I didn't get a perfect 'after' shot so will try to remember when we do our oven but I happened to keep a box of baking soda bought from £ land ages ago so I was REALLY pleased this all worked so well! :)


Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Moving day!

I researched & followed some tips when we moved to luxembourg 2 years ago, when f was 1.5 years. I probably didn't realistically need to follow them but it's been good practise for this time. So we said goodbye to all the rooms & took photos. Luckily F was/is excited about moving house.

Then the girls went to their schools & we started manically finishing packing... I discovered roadworks outside our house, the guys hadn't finished the kitchen at that point then couldnt pay by card for diesel :/


Countdown?

Think I've somehow skipped a day cos this takes us to Monday & Tuesday was actually moving day...


We 'camped' that night & the girls both slept in our room. They've been very well behaved, considering. We have had some tears though. They also both had a pediatrician appointment including a vaccine. Considering again, both were ok. 

Day 7:



Breakfast on day 7. My Krav Maga friend eats a lot of banana chips & Z decided she liked them so I took a few photos ;)

Day 6:

Don't have any suitable pictures because we were at a party. We did a quick trip back to the UK for my Aunty Jenny's birthday, which is the day after mine. :)

Friday, 21 November 2014

Oh dear...

I thought 'I'll write a post quickly on my plans'. Then thought 'how do you make god laugh? Tell him your plans' :S But I'll tell you anyway, even if they don't happen:

I am of course, referring to house plans. I was just commenting on facebook on my sister in law's wedding dress & it reminded me that I have plans for my own. This house has a lot to live up to! ;)


  • I wanted to decorate in colours because for ages we've lived in white or magnolia. Not bright colours but I wanted pale walls and then bright accents. There's a 'sort of' arch in the main 'living' room that we're painting dark red. I'm hoping to be a bit crazy and daring with the hallway. (But I won't say what yet) That's the one 'room' we've decided to just get a painter in... 
  • Then I hope to have all sorts of long forgotten 'treasures' on display, things from our wedding and as I mentioned, my wedding dress. I'm not entirely sure how yet as I was thinking our bedroom but I'm not sure I'll fit it in there, the room being quite small. Maybe I'll just hang it up on a hook, as it has it's own pearl hanger. I should probably write a post about my wedding at some point, as I was determined to do it myself on things we weren't so fussed about and then we spent money on our rings and photo's, things we'd keep...
  • A cat flap will appear, we'll probably have to get it cut into a glass door.
  • We're planning on having shelving in the caves, for bulk buying foods, etc. 
  • I'm planning on lots of storage for bags and coats, etc, in the hallway.
  • We'll finally have a proper study where I'm intending to actually neatly be able to keep 'everything'.
  • F asked for her room to be 'Winnie the Pooh'. So she has a blind & wall stickers. Z has an 'outdoor' scene... We've considered various options for lampshades. F will probably get a new wardrobe, Z some shelving.

Countdown, Day 5.


My husband jokes that we've bought an expensive house for the cat... He much prefers independence and being able to go outside so I wanted a cat flap. I bought this feliway diffuser recently and just remembered to plug it in before I left today... I've also been using calming capsules (can't remember their name) in his food...

Soooo what is to come? 

Well we don't do things by halves as you know. So having spent all week racing around, we're now going to the UK for my Aunt's birthday party. Then on Monday hubby is 'flat packing' furniture, I still have Krav Maga and then Tuesday we actually move. 

Getting there... Day 4!


Apparently a 'stroppy' email works because suddenly the kitchen is taking shape! ;) I have been reassured by many people that actually building a kitchen isn't that challenging when you know what you're doing, etc, so was relieved... 

Getting very very close! ;)

I have a feeling this was actually taken later but never mind.

Countdown Day 3...

Our bedroom. 

By this point I was sick of painting the living room but hubby had finished it. Finished F's room, the kitchen mega quickly (needs another coat and finishing properly) and still had our bedroom, Z's room and the 'study'... Oh and the caves...







Day 2 of countdown.

Hubby painted this 'accent' wall whilst the girls were in bed. I can't actually remember what I did during the day, I think I got narky with the contractors and painted our bedroom...

The countdown is on!

Ok, it was my birthday on Tuesday. That in itself will get a post later but that day also marked 1 week until we move house. I had started to write that day but never quite got round to finishing the countdown posts because the week has been crazy. Soooo...

My birthday! I had a lovely day, starting with breakfast with a 'school mum', then lunch & a play date with friends, followed by dinner with my lovely family. This was what happened when hubby got his card out to pay! 


Saturday, 15 November 2014

Nouveau maison...

Or new house to the English ;)

We got the keys finally last Friday night. We got 1 wall painted last weekend then on Monday I discovered we could still see lots of white so that's been a major source of my frustration. I don't feel like we've achieved much this week, or as much as I'd like. But it's now Friday & things are slowly improving.

I've made it to both Krav Maga sessions this week, which included practising rolls Thursday night on a dead arm (anddddd a Krav Maga night out last night)! I've done a late night (well as late as this country gets!) trip to the diy store, Hornbach, to get paint advice (in English, love how you ask if someone speaks English and they say 'a little' then proceed to give you advice on painting!). And yesterday I finished painting the kitchen! 

Today I have started on F's room, as the living room is now just annoying me, it can wait until the weekend. We've also started moving boxes and ordered our fridge. Men are checking & putting together the new kitchen as I type. It's interesting cos they only speak French. As do our neighbours, who we also met during the week. 

So photos:

The lounge/dining/ play room

What a ripped out, half painted kitchen looks like! 

Just painted first wall of f's room.

And lastly I went to a free class yesterday afternoon to look at a potential new venture - it's all go here! ;) My father in law said 'I hope you're not doing too much too soon' the other day and my response was 'who me?!' ;) Then I read 'It's never 1 thing with me' from someone else and thought 'yes, that sums me up'. Not content on moving house, I now have to make a decision about businesses! But that's definitely for another blog post! ;)

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Toddler Thursday...

Written: 8/11/14

Well my Toddler is now a Preschooler so I have a lot of posts to catch up on. In Luxembourg the precoce (preschool) have a 2.5 hour lunch break and I really didn't feel like doing anything this week so we've been 'ladies that lunch' and F had chocolate ice cream as a treat on Friday!

Saturday, 8 November 2014

A New Start?

I had the idea last weekend that when I get up with the girls on a Saturday morning, I should use the time to write some blog posts so I don't forget. So this is the first time...

And then yesterday we got the keys to our new house so I thought 'a new start' was a good enough title for this post. A new start to my organisation I hope and a new start in a house.

So I'm expecting my main source of blogging for the next month to be about the house. We don't plan to actually move in for another at least 2 weeks. Before then I need to wash all the walls, choose pain colour and then get painting! The walls are all textured as well so painting is going to be more of a challenge!

What will be our living room area.

Dining room 'end' - play area in the middle.

Bathroom no1

Part of hallway

Kitchen - to be ripped out next week!

One of the girls' bedrooms - apparently this is very expensive flooring!? ;)

Bathroom no2

Hall cupboard! :)

Paint testers.

Wardrobes in our bedroom. 

As my friend observed, there's a LOT of storage space! :) 

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

How Crunchy Are You?

I had a chat with a friend on facebook recently and it inspired this post. This is JUST FOR FUN. Please do not take offence, think I am trying to shove my opinions down your throat or anything. I did this quiz ages ago and then the conversation today inspired me. That is all.

So, what's this post about?

It's about some choices I've made as a parent and why I've made them.

I googled 'how crunchy are you' to get a quiz and it turns out there's a few out there, so I completed 'http://www.themoralesfamily.us/granola.htm' and got 'Mmmm love that whole grain crunch' which is somewhere in the middle.

The questions (please excuse any bad grammar, I'm using the questions directly):

1. Do you have a homebirth?

With my oldest daughter yes, completely unassisted and totally unintentional. In hindsight, it was brilliant. I didn't know I was in labour so I had to go with it. For example, I remember just before the final push having this feeling that I had to just really get on with it.

2. Will you circumcise?

I have 2 daughters so this doesn't really apply...

3. Do you use cloth diapers?
 Elimination Communication (no diapers)
Yes - wash and make own diapers
Yes - wash own
Yes - diaper service
Thinking about it
No - wouldn't even consider it.

Yes, I use cloth. I can't sew so I don't make my own but I do use cloth nappies. And I love them and will be devastated (yes even my husband thinks I'm crazy but yes I will be devastated) when my baby potty trains and I'll have to sell them... And yes I will keep some of the more 'special' ones for them to play with/ their memory suitcase.

4. Do you observe your fertility signals using; Natural Family Planning/Fertility Awareness and use that for birth control?
 Yes - observe and use for birth control/TTC; or you use ecological breastfeeding/lactational amenorrhea
Yes - observe for TTC
Thinking about it
No - wouldn't consider it

I did track things a bit when I was trying for Z. But it didn't last long. I don't do this in general for a few reasons. I won't go into some of the more personal reasons but what I will say is I have used contraception for the 12 years I've been with my husband. Both times we've wanted a baby we have fallen pregnant immediately. I didn't particularly enjoy being pregnant and so don't intend to have any more children. So I believe if I was to try natural methods it would almost certainly result in a life changing 'accident'.

5. Do you co-sleep?
Yes - all night every night
Yes - part/all of most nights
No - but room in with baby. Baby has own bed in your room
Thinking about it
No - wouldn't consider it

I did when Z was first born. If my daughters aren't well then they normally end up in bed with us. I wanted to co-sleep for longer but we found no one was getting any sleep and frankly I cannot exist on no sleep (& I know lots of mums who say now they're a mum they magically manage but I really don't!).

6. Do you use a baby sling/soft carrier?
Yes - make and use your own slings
Yes
Thinking about it
No - wouldn't consider it

I love and am an advocate of my baby carrier. When I moved to Luxembourg I found out more about them as I found using a pushchair was a pain on the bus. I bought a black Boba and used it massively. I then bought a beige Boba when Z was born and it was my life saver when she was small. She would only sleep or even be quiet held upright and mostly against me. So I was able to play with F whilst Z slept on me. I have 2 because we keep one in the car and one at home. And so if necessary, hubby can have 1 and I can. Yes, my 3 year old can still easily go in this baby carrier for cuddles and lazy walks!
I don't make my own because I've never tried sewing and I think it would result in a whole new obsession! ;)

7. Do you breastfeed exclusively for the first 6+ months?
Yes - child-led weaning
Yes - including exclusively pumping moms
No - but use occasional bottles of expressed breastmilk and occasional bottles of formula
Thinking about it
No - wouldn't consider it

No but I wanted to. F being premature meant I had to pump initially and I was advised to stop because I hated it. Another topic for another day ;) I am a huge advocate of extended breastfeeding but didn't succeed myself.

8. Do you believe in/practice child-led weaning; even if that means breastfeeding for several years?
Yes - complete child-led weaning
Yes - up to 3 years
Yes - up to 2 years
Thinking about it
No - wouldn't consider it

I believe in it but I didn't do it. Because I didn't breastfeed F I wanted to long term breastfeed Z. Unfortunately it wasn't meant to be, she didn't gain weight and take to breastfeeding very well and I ended up in hospital ill at one point.

9. Do you tandem nurse/nurse during your pregnancy?
 Yes - nurse during pregnancy and tandem nurse
Yes - nurse during pregnancy, but wean before birth
Thinking about it
No - wouldn't consider it

If I had been breastfeeding F still when pregnant, I would have continued.

10. Would you/have you ever breastfed/fed someone else's baby or have someone else breastfeed your child?
 Yes - have or someone has breastfed your baby
Yes - would do it
Maybe
No - wouldn't consider it

If you put this in the literal context: a hungry baby and a human being able to feed them, yes I would. And the same goes for my child, it didn't happen but when Z was newborn and not taking to breast feeding, I had this conversation. Again, much as I'd love to go into detail on this, I don't think it's something the whole world wants to know about! ;)

11. Do you eat organic/whole/natural foods and limit your meat?
Yes - complete grow own/buy organic, shop only at health food store, grind own wheat, vegetarian, etc.
Yes - grow some of own food, buy organic, use whole wheat flour, bake own bread, eat some meat occasionally
Yes - try to buy natural, whole grain foods, etc
Thinking about it
No - wouldn't consider it

This is just plain logical to me. Hubby isn't so keen on reducing the meat. We don't have any garden space so can't really grow our own but we do have a bread maker and I'm trying to eat 'clean' meals.

12. Do you use herbal/homeopathic remedies?
 Yes - very rarely see a regular doctor
Yes - but use a doctor occasionally
Thinking about it - See a doctor for now
No - wouldn't consider it

I take Juice Plus capsules. I would say we probably just avoid the doctor rather than use herbal remedies.

13. Do you homeschool?
 Yes - currently homeschool
Yes - will homeschool for now
Thinking about it
No - wouldn't consider it

I did consider it and researched it but it's not that simple in Luxembourg. I also truly believe, particularly now, that my children are happier in school and get more out of it.

14. What's your take on childhood vaccinations?
No vaccines
Delayed vaccinations, seperate vaccinations, or selectively vaccinate
Selective, on schedule vaccination
Thinking about NOT vaccinating
Vaccinate on schedule

This is one thing I am not crunchy on. Both my kids are fully vaccinated and F actually had an extra one when we moved here, at my request (chicken pox).

15. Do you use cloth/re-usable products for mom? (Sea Sponge, Diva Cup, etc etc)
 Yes - make and use own
Yes - buy own
Thinking about it
No - wouldn't even consider it

I was going to duck out of this topic as I know people who have read in the past have commented. But given the topics already covered, I may as well briefly answer. I have a mooncup.

16. Do you wear make-up?
No never
Sometimes/Rarely - use natural make-up lightly
Yes - all the time

Basics. I feel better and think I look a bit better. My husband can't tell, mind you! ;)

17. Do you shave?
No never
Sometimes/Rarely - some parts, like armpits but not legs or vice versa
Yes - all the time

Yes cos frankly I don't see what at all is crunchy about this! ;)

18. What is your shoe style?
Barefoot whenever possible
Sandals when going out
Give me my socks and shoes please

Unintentionally barefoot...

19. Do you use natural cleaning products/etc?
Yes - make own
Yes - buy
No

My cleaner dictates what we use currently but in the future I would like to have the time to make and use my own...

The other topics not covered here is extended rear facing car seats and more of baby led weaning. My kids have rear facing car seats because the research we did suggested they were safer and didnt' cost anything extra so they know no different and are stuck in them. We're about to get a second car and will continue with rear facing. 

We have done a mixture of some puree but to be honest I got bored very quickly and moved to baby led weaning. It does make a lot more sense to me. I also find it a lot more natural. Especially with baby number 2, I can just give them a pizza crust or a piece of vegetable and they can feed themselves...

So that's this questionnaire and as such post finished. Hubby has joked that I've gone all 'hippy' but frankly I can think of worse things to be called! :)

Sunday, 2 November 2014

My Early New Year's Resolutions...

Having given up work and as we're about to move house, I have informed Mr Adventures of Mamma that I will take over as much as possible in the home. This meaning things like tracking our finances and budget (which we don't really currently do due to lack of time). So I have set a reminder on my phone calendar that the first week of each month I have labelled 'audit' week but it's not a very good word for it. 

What am I planning to do?
  1. Firstly bulk cooking. This is cooking a large fish pie, mince mixture, etc, then freezing it in individual portions so that each week I just get enough food out to feed us. Like ready frozen meals from the supermarket but home made so I hope better for us!
  2. Filing. I am regularly WELL behind with this. To the point where our passports don't get filed from the last time we were in the UK before the next trip back! :(
  3. Emails. I currently have 10 pages of emails in my inbox. 'Nuff said?!
  4. Laptop 'audit' - I have so many random documents and things that seem useful but turn out not to be. 
  5. Toys - rotating them, getting rid of no longer played with... Updating labels and storage...
  6. Clothes - keeping up with Project 333 for us 3 girls and generally checking them.
  7. Change photo's on my screensaver and then when we move I'll have photo's on our tv so changing those over. 
  8. Sending photo's and drawings to appropriate people. I have also just downloaded 2 apps - Keepy & Touchnote so I'll keep you updated as to whether they're as good as I hope they'll be! :)
  9. Birthday cards for the month. I am awful with this so hopefully this will help....
  10. Finances - as I said above.
  11. Back my mobile up to my laptop.
  12. Actually write blog posts for the month
  13. Send a news email to some friends that aren't on facebook
  14. Make bread for the month.
I may of course, add to the list as time goes on but I am also conscious I'll only have a week to do this ;) 

Anyway, not only do I plan to do this but we're moving house this month and I had an idea of hosting a Christmas party at our new house BUT have just realised the timing is going to be hard... I feel a headache coming on but I'm sure it'll still be fine! ;)

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Housekeeping...

A few bits to catch you up on:

  • I have given up working full time. I hated myself for running around like a headless chicken (ever seen this?! It is quite weird) rushing F to school etc. 
  • We are moving house next month. No our apartment is not packed. No I have not finished the massive declutter/ sort out that I want to do. *sigh* As my friend here said, 'I bet you haven't stopped since giving up work' and it's sooo true! It's crazy...
  • I am hoping to start helping with the Duke of Edinburgh's International Award/ Merite Jeunesse after I'm trained in January.
  • I am going to investigate what French and Luxembourgish language courses there are offered by our new commune office in January.
  • I forgot to add I have been following juice plus. More on this to come...
  • More to come on our new house...
  • Andddd hopefully I'll get a bit more organised with my life and what I want to achieve and actually start scheduling blog posts etc! I have a lot half written and started that I've never finished... I feel a new years resolution coming on! ;)
Regarding being more organised: after a casual chat with a friend I had 2 ideas. She writes her blog posts once a month. Which inspired me to do the same (this morning I also thought I should use the time I'm awake on a Saturday morning to do these things). And then further inspired me that the first week of the month from now on is going to be my 'audit month'. Hopefully this will be successful & if it is, I will write a post later. I've currently set a reminder & included everything I want to do, checking clothing, writing blog posts & most importantly, cooking meals & updating our budget. I'm also hoping to get organised with birthday cards! 

Oh and Z turned 1 last month. We have a ridiculously busy November and probably December coming up.

Happy Halloween!? :)




Sunday, 14 September 2014

Sort of SS - 3 photo's of our day




Hello there

So I last posted over a month ago. And I have no idea what's happening with this blog. At the moment I often feel I have no idea what's happening with my life lol. It's a bit of a crazy rollercoaster at the moment! But I discovered today that a lovely friend in the land of FB writes a blog & she's inspired me to write another post, even if it's just detailing how I haven't got a clue ;)

So I started working full time about 6 weeks ago. I don't think it's too appropriate for me to go into detail about what I'm doing or where I'm working. I love the unusualness of working in Luxembourg & I realised, tbh, the other day, that I love working. We'll see what the future holds...

F seems to have settled nicely at her new creche, thankfully. So far they've taken her swimming & to the big summer fayre, Schueberfouer. My biggest baby is definitely growing up, she went to the play area ('Espace Enfant Auchan') whilst we went shopping today and was absolutely fine... Apparently I'm a very nervous mummy!

Z is absolutely loving creche and almost the opposite of her big sister BUT does love and look up to her sister, it seems, thankfully. She's now crawling and today has started trying to pull herself up so I guess it won't be long before she tries walking - gulp!

So, what's to come?

September
Well, F starts 'precoce' (preschool) on Tuesday. It's a few minutes walk from her creche so they'll pick her up. I'm terrified, though at least after today (being left at the play area) I know she's fine with strangers... She actually said before we left her, well she wailed 'I just want to play with my friends'...

October
Z's 1st birthday! Yes, after all the trials & tribulations, my baby baby turns 1!
And then we have a wedding to attend....
I'm hoping to sell last things at the last summer sale in Luxembourg... Not sure yet tho...

November
It's my birthday... And I'm re-celebrating my big 30 because I was ill last year...
Anddddd we move house! Yes, we actually officially bought the house last month but we get the keys on 10th November so have started packing.

December
Is of courseeeee Christmas. And the time my current work contract ends.

So that's a brief catch up.


(I felt sunflowers were nice and the creche is 'Le petite tournesol' or 'little sunflower')


I may as well ask in here, a sort of question. How do others deal with daughters and clothes? Or rather young daughters? We are having a few issues with F. I now think it's just she wants to choose (there's no school uniform here) but it's making mornings a challenge...


So if anyone has any suggestions, I'd be interested...

Monday, 21 July 2014

Une Question...

For those of you who don't speak ANY French, the above title is not pronounced with an English accent... Just thought I'd say that. And I suppose, on this basis, our French has improved a little in that we use regularly phrases (like I say 'C'est terrible' to F) like the above. I still don't think of it as French or that mine has improved much... Oh and I considered watching 'Planes 2' in French on Sunday. But couldn't quite face it. *sigh* Now I'm cross that they're not showing it any more and F is freaking at Dragons 2. But anyway, this is all TOTALLY off the topic of actually what I am posting about today...

Just to detract for a second again as well: aren't you lucky people that after I said I wasn't sure if I'd keep this blog going, I'm writing a 2nd post in a DAY?! What I may try to do is actually write the posts as I think of them, and publish at the same time. I'm a bit too much of a perfectionist normally to do that...

Anyway, soooo. A question.

I posted this on the facebook page:
I can't annoyingly, seem to get it horizontal. The red bag has a strap inside. And quite a few pockets. It is also twice the price of the yellow bag. The yellow bag is nicely simple and bright. But I like red. My question. Which bag do I keep?

Why am I asking such a question? Well for a few reasons and this post actually kinda made sense to me. I have just subscribed to notifications by 'The Minimalists' and this particular post, the last part where it says minimalism means different things to different people, really really does sum it up for me.

I do feel guilty about returning to work but part of me has justified it from the minimalist angle (as opposed to other minimalists who are that way in order to be able to stay at home). I could probably quite easily get by without either of these bags. And if I was to be truly sensible, I'd make my lunch each day and then leave my purse (out of view) in my car at work. But I figure it would be nicer to have a bag to take my purse into work in. Admittedly, realising it will probably only be my purse initially makes me feel a bit silly but I'm a girl, right?

And that is my big issue and fight with myself. I don't plan to raise my daughters to think that because they're girls they have to fit a stereotype, I sure as hell don't consider it myself. I am a strong believer that any female can achieve anything they want. It's not always easy and it's not the same, but they can do it. So why why why have I chosen to spend money on a bag, or in this case 2 bags, justifying it with 'because I'm a girl, right?' I hate myself for it. And then I think, if I hate myself for it, why not just take both bags back and be sensible about it. But I like them. *sigh* Being a girl and aspiring to be a bit more minimalist and maybe not the 'normal' lifestyle is sure tough at times.

So, which bag do you think I should keep? Or do you think I should keep neither? 

Toddler Thursday... On Monday!

Just having an impromptu art ('arts & crafts, mummy?!' As f said;)) session:



I experimented briefly from mixing paint with water & this was just normal paint. F changed her mind from blowing to using the straw as a brush... Toothpicks next! :)  This particularly worked because the table was clear! :)


I then showed F how to paint and fold the paper over... This resulted in the brilliant phrase 'can you get a plaster for it mummy?' because the paper tore and I got some sellotape for it! <3 a soon to be precocer! ;)

Hubby & I happened to have cleared the table up amongst other things last night so I was able to just put the cloth on and get it set up pretty quickly...

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Job Prep...

I have now stopped my last declutter for a few reasons but I am preparing to start work in other ways. The next few months are going to be very busy for a variety of reasons:


  1. I start full time work on 1st August and my daughters start creche full time, at a different creche. The creche is also a little further away for the moment.
  2. In September there's a 2nd hand sale that I'm planning to try selling baby things at. It's 2 days before F starts precoce. So another 'milestone'.
  3. In October it's  Z's 1st birthday. I've already come up with a theme and bought some of the things for it. Well most of the decorations etc. So hopefully the most challenging part is complete.
  4. November sees us hopefully moving house and I'm having my 2nd 30th birthday. I was ill and Z was very young when it was actually my 30th so I figured I'd just celebrate this year instead. Which although it seemed a great idea at the time, now it's another thing...
  5. December is of course, Christmas! (and we'll have just moved house)

Soooo whilst minimalism to most people often means having more time to spend with their children and giving up work, I've found that now I really want to return to work. I hope that the time I do spend with my family and children as a result will be much better quality. Andddd because my children will be at creche or precoce all day, I expect them to need less toys because they won't be home as much to play with them. And the biggest thing I have seemed to read about minimalism is that it fits into what works for you.

I am planning tomorrow to do a lot of bulk cooking so I don't have to worry too much about food in the forthcoming weeks and months (the contract is 4 months initially so we'll see). Fish pie, 2 different chilli con carne (to use up some ingredients in the cupboard) and hopefully some macaroni cheese...

I've pretty much finished the latest decluttering and am just waiting for the 2nd hand sale in September, to hopefully get sold some of this stuff! It's getting crazy... I have also decided to wait until the girls start creche before deciding what other toys etc to potentially get rid of. Z has 3 baby toys 'out' at the moment & actually only really plays with 1. F's toy bins were at only 2 full, now all 6 (different sizes) are full again, following her birthday. So whilst I am kind of itching to par them down, I figure it can wait.

I have mostly sorted their clothes out. They have way more than they need but they still fit into a drawer each (plus I'm pretty sure it's under 33 items for each, I did do a quick count) and being summer and a transitional time, I'm not going to worry too much more for now... Also F has developed a very stubborn personality so we're lucky to get her to choose her own clothes and put them on, right now!

So most of my lounge is stacked up with stuff for sale and it's driving me bananas but I guess there's not long now until the sale, thankfully...
Tomorrow as well as bulk cooking I've just informed hubby that we must fill in Z's 'record' book 'cos otherwise we're going to forget all the things she's done and when! I can just about remember she got 4 teeth at about 7 months... :/
Their momento suitcase & I still have lots of photo's to sort out. I have gone through my email inbox & folders and my pc folders. It is just photo's. Those damn photo's...

For now, I think that's all. I am sorry that the blog has been so quiet but I've been trying to keep up with both girls and I suspect it will continue, as I transition back into working full time for an international company that is incredibly busy (and I'm going to be working in their very busy department). As they are very well known I am not going to say their name as I don't want to jinx anything.

I have considered closing this blog, in case anyone is wondering but I want to see how things go for now...

Friday, 11 July 2014

Top 3 Job Finding Tips.

The days of finding a job easily have kind of passed. A friend said a few years ago in the 80's when she was hunting the first time there was more than 1 job available per job hunter. A lot more. Even in my employment time frame, in 2003 jobs weren't too hard to find. In 2009 ish finding a job quickly and easily was a much bigger challenge. But I've always managed to, despite the challenge. And my mother said last week 'if anyone can find a job, it's you'. Which got me thinking. And today I thought id share my tips:

1. Follow EVERY single teeny tiny 'lead'. 
What do I mean by that? Well what inspired me to write this is I missed most of a good friends fight at Krav Maga (higher belts do a 2 minute free fight for their grading) to get the email address of someone. He offered to pass my cv on. It probably won't come to anything as he's in a different field & I already know someone at that company. But never ever assume, follow just in case.
When we first moved to Newbury in 2003 I literally took email addresses on the bus and sent my cv. 

2. There's no limit to how many agencies you can register at. 
I saw an agency on the back of a bus saying 'we want you'. I didn't know until I looked it up but anything like that should immediately spark your interest. You shouldn't have to pay an agency. As a recruitment agency companies give them jobs to source and they have to put you forward for those jobs. When they fill the job they are then paid commission from that new person's wage, by the company. During this job hunt I have had a company make suggestions on how to improve my cv and then email me daily with their package offers. I don't want them. 

3. When times get tough, try the unusual.
I have never actually got a job this way BUT I have had an interview. When I get really desperate and fed up, I print a lot of cv's off and do what I call 'cold calling cv drop'. I either drive to a business park I'd like to work at or I find somewhere with lots of businesses and I go in, give my CV and say what I'm looking for. I've literally just done something similar here - I heard of a job that would have been ideal at a company and said company is next door to where I was. I heard through an agency so it's very likely the position has already been filled but I still went in and handed in my CV and I've just rung and followed through to emailing their HR department. It may well not come to anything but it might and if you try hard for these things something comes up.

Don't get disheartened. My mum and a new friend have both said that you have to make a full time job out of looking for a full time job. You have to be incredibly flexible. I started looking last Monday. By Tuesday I was thoroughly fed up but had applied for a job. Wednesday I registered at agency number 1 in person and was put forward for 2 jobs. Friday at 5pm I got an interview for this week. And if the job I've just interviewed for doesn't come to fruition, I've applied for 2 other positions and a speculative option. And to think my husband said it couldn't be done! ;)

P.S. Writing this half a week later: I got a job offer! The first interview I had was a temporary job that I was offered! I am sure there's exceptional circumstances to this situation - they needed someone quickly and being temporary if I'm rubbish they can just end my contract but my point is that it IS doable! In 2 weeks I found something... Oh and another exception: Luxembourg has a low unemployment rate so I'm sure given that I was determined to find something plus this fact means it was easier. Butttt as a friend said, you have to be proactive and persistent...

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Not so minimalist... Why I use cloth nappies.

I follow minimalist ideas and am trying to implement certain things. I say trying because a lot of ideas I hear I don't succeed with, but I'm trying...

One thing I do that is not minimalist but I am certainly not giving up on: cloth nappies. I never even really thought about cloth nappies until F was approaching 1 years old. I can't remember what made me think of trying them. Then someone who lives in Luxembourg told me nappies were mega expensive here and I decided to give it a go. I joined some groups on facebook because I literally had no idea where to start. I bought 2 of various types of nappy from a website... And I entered the massive, wonderful and very confusing world of cloth nappies.

I was surprised to learn that Minimalist Mom uses cloth nappies. There are numerous websites that sell cloth nappies, you can buy on ebay ('ebay cheapies') and there's a lot of terminology out there that's confusing ('fluff', 'stash'). So I'm going to tell you what I do. It's the simplest system for me. I know others who do different things who think their choice is easiest. So I'm not saying my system is simplest.

I bought various types of a type of nappy called 'all in 2/ai2'. I read up on different types of nappies and wanted something that I could change the inside, absorbent part but was quick drying. It seemed the best type. Lots of brand names make these types, as well as far cheaper sellers on ebay. There's also different styles - from a long strip of material that folds into the nappy, to strips that press stud into the nappy.

This is my current 'stash' or collection of cloth nappies and no, I did not buy them all in one go at the beginning:

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This is our nappy changing table and I thought I'd include this picture as there's a few things that come with using cloth:


Above the table is 2 hooks (coincidence but useful) and on the left is 2 mesh drawstring bags. One is in a bin that I put the dirty nappies in, the other sits there ready for when they're in the wash. The other hook has a large wet bag (I bought it for something else and they're useful) and a cloth bag that I put empty packets of wet wipes in. I keep them for a charity that recycles them. If we must use them I want to minimise the negativity. 

To the right of the table holds a bin that has dirty disposables: wet wipes and nappies. Hubby prefers disposable wet wipes, creche use disposable nappies & sometimes it's just easier.
There's also a box that holds cloth wipes & spray. I use 'CJ's' - they have a spray for nappy rash & also cleaning spray (with names like 'monkey farts'!) that are ok for cloth nappies. To be honest I don't worry too much about whether things are ok on cloth but they smell gorgeous so I have them to hand... I also have a roll of flushable liners. 

So I lay Z on the table (didn't have this with F by the way), undo the nappy and wash her: I spray her with the spray (which mostly she giggles at) and use some wipes to wash her. I put the flushable liner either into the bin if it's just wet or if it's a soiled I put it to one side or ask F to put it in the toilet. I then roll the nappy and used wipes up and put in the bin to my right hand side, that has 1 of the mesh bags in. I then take a new nappy from the front of the box you can see. I put a flushable liner in it from the roll.  I then put the nappy on. It takes exactly the same length of time as using a disposable for me. The part that takes longer is that when the bin gets full of dirty nappies, which is normally every other day, I then chuck the bag in the wash. I use the same detergent I use for everything else for simplicity, I just use a little less (if you use the normal amount it affects the absorbency of the cloth, detrimentally). I put it on a normal wash and dry cycle, taking 5 hours, so normally overnight. Then for ease of use, I have to ensure all the 'inserts' are correct, so I sit with a basket of nappies & sort them all out and put them in the box. But it really doesn't take long and mothers that use cloth normally find it enjoyable, I think.

There is special nappy sprays, ways to wash with extra rinse cycles and all sorts. But I find this way is easiest for me. Nothing different or complicated for me to remember. They have some minor staining and when I plan to sell them, when Z potty trains, I'll worry about the staining. Yes, you can buy 'preloved' cloth nappies so I can sell them in the future...

Oh and lastly, I didn't use cloth with F until she was over 1 years old. I planned to use it on Z when she was born but frankly had so many issues and lack of sleep that just getting out of bed for F was challenging enough! So I think she was about 4 months old when I started using my old 'stash'. It was good to have them to hand though, for when we ran out occasionally of disposable nappies...

Cloth/Reusable Wet Wipes:
I had been using cloth nappies for about a year with F and then started using them with Z (she was about 4 months old) and decided to try cloth wet wipes. They are far easier for me to use as you chuck them in the wash with the nappy. And of course, on the topic of money and the environment, of course they're better.

Liners:
You can use fleece liners and wash them out. But I feel that's more of a faff. I could also wash the flushable liners (when it's just urine) but they clogged up our washing machine more than once so hubby has insisted we bin them. So yes, I just have a roll of flushable liners, they sit on top of the cloth and then if baby does a poo you can just take both ends of the liner and flush. No hassle. I even get F to take them to the toilet and she actually cried the other day because I didn't give her the chance! ;)

A wholeeeee different kettle of fish: 'cloth menstration pads/ CMP':
You're probably thinking 'whattttt?!' and when we first heard about it, our initial reaction was 'ewwww'. But you can buy (or make) using the same materials, cloth pads to use when you have a period. I don't use them so I don't really know much about them. Here's a post that features briefly what I am moving over to using.

Family wipes:
The same as you can use cloth reusable wipes for babies, you can also use them instead of toilet roll for the whole family. We don't. Because frankly, my hubby would have a fit - he uses cloth nappies willingly enough but wipes have been a lot more of a challenge so trying to get him to use 'family wipes' is not going to happen. Also, to be honest, I'm not that good. I don't really want to be washing that much. I started using cloth not so much for the environment.

Oh and in case you haven't heard, you can also get 'kitchen roll' made from cloth. It's done in sheets that are press studded. Again, we do not. Partly because it's just an expensive way of having 'spare rags' to hand as far as I can tell. But if you're interested it does exist.

Cost/ Ways to make it cheaper:
I didn't do it as cheaply as I could, mostly for time and effort. I could have just bought lots of 'ebay cheapies' and a fleece sheet from somewhere like Ikea. Then cut the latter up into liners and wipes. But I bought some 'preloved' 'cheeky wipes' from a group on facebook and as I say, use flushable liners. I also have a total variety of nappies. 

You can also buy 'personalised' nappies. But these of course, cost more. I have some. Then there's dresses that match and show off the nappies - I have a Very Hungry Caterpillar dress and nappy. I think I'll probably keep them for my daughters to play with when they're older. Hubby hates it for some reason.

Ok, I use cloth for 2 main reasons: 
1. I just plain like it. I prefer the cute nappies to disposables. I don't mind doing a bit of extra washing. I keep disposables on hand so we do use them for certain occasions.
2. Cost. In mainland Europe brand name disposable nappies cost a lot. Admittedly I now use Auchan's own brand environmentally friendly nappies when I have to, but they're still not cheap.

I did no research whatsoever into the negativities of disposable nappies before I bought cloth. My friend has told me some of the negative points that she heard of. And in a quick google search, this post seems to give a lot of information in case you're interested:


Sooo, I finally did my 'cloth nappies' post for you! I <3 my cloth nappies. I will actually be upset and probably cry when Z potty trains. And I'll keep some of them for the girls to play with when they're older. My friend who uses cloth here made for F's 2nd birthday a little cloth nappy, wipes and bag set - I don't know who loved it more, me or F! ;) So cloth is a big part of my life as a mother now. But it's also not the be all and end all. I don't expect creche to use it (they refused and I'm not dedicated enough to argue in French, frankly). I don't judge or care what others do. And if I'm 100% honest, whilst it's lovely to think it's better for the environment, I couldn't really give a stuff and that is certainly not why I do it. This is just intended as an informative post for anyone who's interested...

Friday, 4 July 2014

Clothing...

On Facebook I said it would be easier to write a post. So here it is:

We recently went on a cruise. It was amazing but involved us buying the girls a lot of clothing. I said at the time that z was about to go into 9-12 month clothing so maybe we should buy in that size but hubby vetoed. I am now kicking myself. Cos we sorted their clothing last night. And it is ridiculous...

When I was pregnant with z I went through all the stored clothing - we had saved everything - and donated a lot. Well, having gone through it again last night we could easily donate half of it again! And no this is not due to time of year...


F was premature & despite my app insisting she's currently on the 50th percentile the same as z, she was in certain clothing for a long time & well past those ages. 3-6 months at a year, for example. So it's been great that z seems to be 'normal' & wear 3-6 month clothing at 3-6 months... This has meant she's gone through the stored clothes very quickly which as we're still adding to them & there's only so much room is a relief. We were given, for example, a bag of 5 year old clothing. F is just 3 years...! Hubby accidentally allowed f to pull the bags out & open them (labelled with perm pen vacuum sealed bags under f's bed) so the clothes needed checking & sorting so as z was going up a size last night we did it...

Omg! It took all night - we finished just before 10pm - to get them out, sort into sizes and store in bags. Then I went through the 9-12 month clothing & managed to get rid of at least half. We've been given clothing since she was born for example so she now has 8 dresses, before she had about 3 I think... She'll be starting crèche full time from next month so need different sorts of clothing. 

So I'm now severely kicking myself because we bought lots of clothing in 6-9 months for her (both their drawers before were fine, now are jam packed) and she's only going to get a few weeks wear out of a lot of it. The only small consolation is that I donate their clothing to 'Giving At Lux' (don't have friends with young enough babies) so I know it'll go to people who need it... 

The nice plus side is that I had a bit of a trip down memory lane last night with the new clothes - some of which F wore when we moved to Luxembourg so that was a bit weird - & there'll be another photo soon of F in a dress & Z in the same... F must have been just over a year so different ages, but still interesting I think... 

I will properly edit this later (done) but post now to get it finished... 

And I have a Toddler Thursday to write when I can! We made a sock rabbit yesterday, this is our last month at home and she'll be a 'precocer' in a few months... (Tho Z looks like she may overtake with the toddling...)

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Day 2 & a quick update...

This is going to be a MEGA quick update as it's 10 to 11pm and I'm tired.

Well I haven't succeeded in getting dressed in work clothes or buying new trousers yet. But that's because I have spent virtually every waking minute thinking about or contributing to a job search. I have registered or checked how to register at about 4/5 agencies, I have mentioned to friends and as such emailed my CV to 2 friends, I have looked online. And today I applied for a job that I am really positive about! I wrote my letter of 'reasons for applying', read it to hubby and to my mother. Hubby disagreed that I was waffling and repeating myself so I was really pleased about that. And my mother was even more complimentary so we'll see. And applications aren't even looked at until 15th July so I have a bit of 'breathing space' where I can't affect it...

In the mean time I took the girls to a play date this morning that was awesome and then raced back and was late for my French lesson. My teacher seems to be implying I need to step up a gear and stop making excuses, which I agree with. But right now it's not number 1 on my list.

So tomorrow my plans are to FINALLY after 3 days of living in a tip, tidy our house, photograph items for sale and advertise on facebook groups - a friend has had a lot of luck so I'm hopeful that one last ditch attempt may work - and then in the afternoon register with at least one agency. I have filing to catch up on and the entire house to go through and 'declutter'.

I want to get a good head start on the moving house process. The less we have the easier the move will be. And it occurred to me today that I'm going to try to approach this job starting business like I did having a baby. Making meals in advance and getting the house 'ready'. So that when I do start the job (1st August, remember?!) I won't have to think about a backlog of jobs to be done at home and cooking dinners, they'll be in the freezer, washing will be easy to sort out and as the girls in childcare with less 'stuff' in the house, I hope it'll be easier to look after...

oxfordremovals.com
So I'm really pleased after feeling a bit fed up today, that having re-assessed the situation, it's only day 2 and I've managed to get some good leads, at the very least. I am also very much looking forward to being able to tidy my house and have it a bit easier to live in from tomorrow! Now to bed, to attempt a good night's sleep in order to be able to achieve all these things...

Monday, 30 June 2014

Belated ss from on holibobs...



'The Secret' plans...

Whilst I was away on holiday I read most of 'The Secret'. Whilst it's sort of common sense, according to my husband and whilst I didn't read it all in depth (having 2 children 3 and under put a stop to that!) I am trying to use the concepts in it a bit more. 'What does that mean?' I hear you ask. Welllll...

I want a job, starting 1st August and whilst I had been thinking about it and hopeful, I hadn't got very far. Not only does the book suggest you need to visualise and ask for things but you also need to live your life as though it's happened/ make space for it. To a certain extent I have been unable to do that in the past (or made excuses). This time I can do it. So my plan to make things happen:

1. Today I have registered at 1 agent and spoken to another. I plan to register or make appointments at 3 others (& continue to look on various sites like Monster). I will possibly also visit certain companies that I think can help with my CV.

2. Buy a 2nd pair of 'work' trousers/ a suit. Get up & dressed in such clothing from tomorrow morning, at the hour I would need to (unfortunately this will probably mean getting out of bed at the same time as or before my husband which has rarely happened in the past). Instead of lying in bed, exhausted and trying to get both girls ready. Get all our clothes ready the night before and go to bed before 11pm (a tip taken from Rachel Jonat's new book).

debenhams

3. Significantly 'get rid of' stuff in our home (for me this is to make room for a job in my life). I have set a time limit of a month. I am sick of having piles of stuff to get rid of in our home. We will also be moving house later this year and I'm not moving it all with me! It's also a new season for Project 333 at the same time as Z moves up to a new size of clothing AND we've got a lot of new clothing for the hot weather on our cruise so I plan to go through all the clothing, label the girls' clothing (as they'll be going to childcare full time so I may as well just label all their clothes with a laundry pen rather than the 1 current outfit and then getting stuck when I have to provide something else) and then there'll be some of Z's smaller clothes to get rid of... 

And finally...

Implementing what I think of as the more spiritual parts of the book. I'll leave you to read the book if it's something you're interested in (because I know it may not be for a lot of people) but I think the reason I may not have been successful in the past is belief. And negative thinking.
So this time:

I am going to get a job that starts 1st August. So I now have 1 month to get 'my house' in order & I can do that.